It's always cause for optimism for hard-working artists when they finally land a No. 1 hit, but it's even better when they score two in a row. That's the situation this week for Rodney Atkins as his latest release, "Watching You," tops Billboard's country singles chart.
Atkins had been making records for nine years before claiming his first No. 1 single last year with "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)." Atkins' career will get another boost in April when he joins Little Big Town on Martina McBride's national tour.
On Billboard's country albums chart, the soundtrack to Toby Keith's film, Broken Bridges, made a formidable leap following its DVD release and television premiere on CMT.
However, consumers are apparently tightening their financial belts after receiving their credit card bills from the holiday season. Significant declines in CD sales were reported in all genres of music, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the company that tracks retail sales. The week's top seller overall, the Dreamgirls soundtrack, sold only 66,000 copies. The top-selling country title, Rascal Flatts' Me and My Gang, logged an 18-percent decrease in sales, but still moved almost 34,000 copies to retain its No. 1 position on Billboard's country albums chart.
Following Rascal Flatts, nothing has changed in the next four positions on the list of country albums. Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts is in second place, Keith Urban's Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing is in third, Atkins' If You're Going Through Hell is in fourth, and Brad Paisley's Time Well Wasted is in fifth.
Sparked by a 127 percent increase, the Broken Bridges soundtrack skyrockets from No. 20 to No. 6. Sugarland's Enjoy the Ride slips slightly to No. 7, Taylor Swift's self-titled debut album holds steady at No. 8, and Josh Turner's Your Man slides to No. 9. George Strait closes out the Top 10 with It Just Comes Natural, which was at No. 9 last week.
Ty Herndon, who had three No. 1 hits in the mid '90s, returns with the highest-debuting country CD of the week. His Right About Now enters the chart at No. 41. Country's Got More Heart, a two-CD compilation of hits by Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride and others, arrives at No. 54.
With Atkins watching over the country singles chart, Paisley's "She's Everything" relinquishes the top spot and moves to No. 2. Strait's "It Just Comes Natural" rises one notch to No. 3, Rascal Flatts' "My Wish" slides to No. 4, and Jason Aldean's "Amarillo Sky" makes an impressive journey from No. 8 to No. 5. Likewise, Taylor Swift's "Tim McGraw" jumps from No. 9 to No. 6 as Sugarland's "Want To" and Underwood's "Before He Cheats" fall to No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. Urban's "Stupid Boy" makes its way to the Top 10, landing at No. 9, and the Wreckers' spend a second week at No. 10 with "My, Oh My."
Former American Idol contestant Bucky Covington has the only single that debuts this week. "A Different World" hits the chart at No. 57.